MONTICELLO — Monticello High School students have given an ad hoc committee some fresh ideas for the city to think about as it continues to research the possible development of 30 acres on the west side of town into a recreational complex.
Divided into groups, the MHS architectural drafting class was tasked with coming up with some proposed site plans. The work was done in the class taught by Brad Curry, and results presented to the 30-acre multi-use outdoor recreation committee on May 17.
All included ball fields, ponds, concession stands and parking, but it was the new thoughts that caught the attention of the committee.
One was a roundabout that would allow parents to drop off children and their equipment at ball fields prior to parking.
“I like the roundabout idea,” Tiffany Koester said. “I feel there are a lot of moms who will like that.”
Another draft had a balcony on a concession stand that would allow people to rest and see the entire site and be rented out for parties.
One group even thought a small beach at the retention/fishing pond would be nice.
“The idea of a beach never crossed my mind,” committee member Lindsey Blickenstaff said.
Some of the plans had two smaller parking lots instead of one larger one, which also appealed to committee members.
“People won’t want to walk all the way across to get to the field they need to go to,” committee chair and city council member Mike Koon said.
The committee may morph some of the ideas into one plan and have Curry or a class member submit a new draft.
The city committee, formed in February, is supposed to have a report ready for the city council by Oct. 15, but chairman and city council member Mike Koon thinks they will be done earlier.
“I see maybe three more meetings” until a report can be generated, Koon said.
After the formal presentations, students were asked what they felt priorities for the park should be.
“We think we could host weekend tournaments. We think it would be great to get the kids involved and a great source of money coming in. We really focused on the baseball fields,” Drew Sheppard said. “We also saw a lot of use for the basketball and tennis courts, for the community to be able to enjoy it.”
Jane German thinks the space should have something for everyone if possible.
“Making this a place where everyone in the community gets to do what they want to do, rather than making it restrictive to one thing,” German said. “It should be a fun place for everyone to come into.”
“I think it’s important to group all the fields together, so that you can have two kids playing, you can watch both at the same time,” Katie Mesplay said. “Also, the walking trail should be a certain distance, like a mile loop, so that you know how far you’ve walked.”
Aidan Kay thought there should be some space between fields for a bit of nature.
“I think it would be better to keep the sports fields a little farther apart, so you can put in some trees or walking paths so that it doesn’t feel extremely cramped,” Kay said.
The committee is scheduled to meet next on 7 p.m. Monday, June 7, in the city council chambers.
Architectural drafting students who took part in the project were Tyler Casey, Matt Erickson, Carter Fincham, Jane German, Sophia Happ, Jared Harris, Aidan Kay, Preston Kietzman, Kolton Knuffman, Katie Mesplay, Garett OBrien, Ben Rhoads, Drew Sheppard and Ellie Tanner.